1. Home
  2. Cruise Reviews
  3. Serenade of the Seas
We chose this cruise solely for the ports of call as we really wanted to visit St.Petersburg and we were also interested in the other places as well. We had a couple of nights in Stockholm first and the hotel arranged a taxi to the port, our embarkation the was 12-12.30 and although we arrived a little bit early we were swiftly 'processed' and we were on the ship in a matter of 15 minutes - there was no queuing at all at this time. We chose 'My Time Dining' and there was some chaos on the first night as it seemed everyone had turned up at once. We did complain (albeit in a typical pleasant English sort of way) and thereafter everything went very smoothly and the staff made sure we were happy all week. We ended up requesting (and getting) the same table and waiters all week as they were excellent, attentive and very pleasant. We were very happy with the service. 3 out of the 4 of us were very happy with the food and choices but I am very difficult when it comes to food. I thought that the food was never served at a really hot temperature but I accept that am really picky. However, I always managed to get an acceptable meal, sometimes having 2 starters or a cheese plate and a pudding. The waiter went out of his way to come up with something that I enjoyed. The menu was rather repetitive on the whole. On one evening I paid extra for the filet mignon from Chops Grille - it was absolutely delicious and definitely put the regular menu to shame. The buffet restaurant was fab for breakfast or a couple of lunches that we had. The veggie curries were very tasty. It was always warm enough to eat just outside the main dining area which was always a bit crowded (it was beautifully peaceful and pleasant outside. We chose the deluxe drinks package as we liked to have a couple of cocktails before dinner, a few glasses of wine with dinner and a couple of whiskies after dinner ( i know, it sounds bad but we were on holiday!). We purchased the packages at "Buy One, Get One Half Price) and we certainly seemed to get our money's worth. Especially as I discovered an unexpected love of Piña Colada which I have spent my whole life thinking that i didn't like, along with bottles of water, the odd Diet Coke, Americanos and mint tea added up to a worthwhile package and it was very nice not to have a bill to pay at the end of the cruise as it had already been paid for in advance. For us it was worth it anyway. also, by the way, we were always served promptly and pleasantly (with one notable exception unfortunately). We certainly had no problem getting drinks and, as far as I could see, got exactly the same service as people signing for drinks. In fact, the service everywhere was excellent and everyone was very pleasant. The weather was amazing and we spent quite a bit of time on deck, following our excursions, we always found somewhere to sit in the sun, this was a lovely thing to do. The entertainment was fine, nothing spectacular but pleasant enough. The shows were good (as expected really), we didn't join in much to be honest. I was expecting more of the daytime entertainment but this was a very port intense cruise anyway. I felt a lot of the activities, sadly, were there to encourage you to spend more. The shore excursions that I booked through RCL were very disappointing on the whole. In St.Petersburg I booked our own tour and it was far superior to any of the ships tours that we went on (and much cheaper!). However, the sea day tour of the ship was fabulous, and the Panoramic tour of Stockholm with airport drop-off was good. Overall, I don't think that large group tours are right for us, I guess they're ok for some people. I also had a treatment (pedicure) in the spa and I didn't think it was anything special. I'm not sure if I would choose RCL again but, for the price and the ports of call it was worth it on this occasion

We Were Very Pleasantly Surprised

Serenade of the Seas Cruise Review by darkkat

3 people found this helpful
Trip Details
  • Sail Date: July 2018
  • Destination: Baltic Sea
  • Cabin Type: Ocean View Balcony
We chose this cruise solely for the ports of call as we really wanted to visit St.Petersburg and we were also interested in the other places as well.

We had a couple of nights in Stockholm first and the hotel arranged a taxi to the port, our embarkation the was 12-12.30 and although we arrived a little bit early we were swiftly 'processed' and we were on the ship in a matter of 15 minutes - there was no queuing at all at this time.

We chose 'My Time Dining' and there was some chaos on the first night as it seemed everyone had turned up at once. We did complain (albeit in a typical pleasant English sort of way) and thereafter everything went very smoothly and the staff made sure we were happy all week. We ended up requesting (and getting) the same table and waiters all week as they were excellent, attentive and very pleasant. We were very happy with the service. 3 out of the 4 of us were very happy with the food and choices but I am very difficult when it comes to food. I thought that the food was never served at a really hot temperature but I accept that am really picky. However, I always managed to get an acceptable meal, sometimes having 2 starters or a cheese plate and a pudding. The waiter went out of his way to come up with something that I enjoyed. The menu was rather repetitive on the whole. On one evening I paid extra for the filet mignon from Chops Grille - it was absolutely delicious and definitely put the regular menu to shame. The buffet restaurant was fab for breakfast or a couple of lunches that we had. The veggie curries were very tasty. It was always warm enough to eat just outside the main dining area which was always a bit crowded (it was beautifully peaceful and pleasant outside.

We chose the deluxe drinks package as we liked to have a couple of cocktails before dinner, a few glasses of wine with dinner and a couple of whiskies after dinner ( i know, it sounds bad but we were on holiday!). We purchased the packages at "Buy One, Get One Half Price) and we certainly seemed to get our money's worth. Especially as I discovered an unexpected love of Piña Colada which I have spent my whole life thinking that i didn't like, along with bottles of water, the odd Diet Coke, Americanos and mint tea added up to a worthwhile package and it was very nice not to have a bill to pay at the end of the cruise as it had already been paid for in advance. For us it was worth it anyway. also, by the way, we were always served promptly and pleasantly (with one notable exception unfortunately). We certainly had no problem getting drinks and, as far as I could see, got exactly the same service as people signing for drinks. In fact, the service everywhere was excellent and everyone was very pleasant.

The weather was amazing and we spent quite a bit of time on deck, following our excursions, we always found somewhere to sit in the sun, this was a lovely thing to do.

The entertainment was fine, nothing spectacular but pleasant enough. The shows were good (as expected really), we didn't join in much to be honest. I was expecting more of the daytime entertainment but this was a very port intense cruise anyway. I felt a lot of the activities, sadly, were there to encourage you to spend more.

The shore excursions that I booked through RCL were very disappointing on the whole. In St.Petersburg I booked our own tour and it was far superior to any of the ships tours that we went on (and much cheaper!). However, the sea day tour of the ship was fabulous, and the Panoramic tour of Stockholm with airport drop-off was good. Overall, I don't think that large group tours are right for us, I guess they're ok for some people. I also had a treatment (pedicure) in the spa and I didn't think it was anything special.

I'm not sure if I would choose RCL again but, for the price and the ports of call it was worth it on this occasion
darkkat’s Full Rating Summary
Enrichment Activities
Value For Money
Embarkation
Dining
Public Rooms
Entertainment
Cabin
Shore Excursions
Service
Onboard Experience
Free Price Drop Alerts
Get Royal Caribbean Serenade of the Seas price drops
250,000+ people have entered their email

Cabin Review

Ocean View Balcony
Cabin 2D 9578
Our cabin (9578) was as spacious as we expected, actually plenty of room for two people anyway and I was really impressed with the size of the wardrobe which easily fitted all our clothes with plenty of 'proper' hangers (yay). We travelled with friends and they were next door (9580). The balconies were fine also. The cabin was clean and the bedlinen was comfortable, as was the bed which was a really good size. The room was kept clean and in good condition at all times. The bathroom, of course, was tiny but was acceptable and the shower was generally good. There was only soap and shower gel provided but as I was expecting this I had taken my own toiletries. I thought the cabin (and the ship on the whole) was in good condition for its age. By reading some reviews on here I was expecting it to be really run down and shabby. I didn't think it was at all (although I have only ever cruised once before so I don't have very much to compare it to). This cabin was in the centrum and you could definitely hear the entertainment, however, this didn't bother us as it seemed to stop promptly around midnight.
Deck 10 Inside Cabins, Balcony Cabins, Suite Cabins

Port & Shore Excursion Reviews

  • City Tour
    This tour was perfectly fine and well organised. It was really a brief introduction to Helsinki which seems to be a nice city without too many remarkable places of interest. We remained in the city after the tour was finished and had a little mooch around and lunch on our own before returning to the ship on the free shuttle bus which was well organised.
    View All 161 City Tour Reviews
  • Riga
    This was possibly the single worst 'food' tour we have ever been on (and we've been on quite a lot). Once again the most interesting bit was the talk by the guide on the history and politics of Latvia. The visit to the market was abysmal and rushed. There was no organisation and everyone was pushing and shoving trying to get the rather small amount of food on offer. There was little explanation of what we were sampling The beer tasting was ok if you liked beer (clearly, many people did not. I'm amazed that no-one was lost along the way with the lack of organisation. There are way too many people on this tour. We missed things that we thought should have been included on the tour. The guide seemed to have little interest in telling us information about the city. It also ended badly for three reasons (2 of which had nothing to do with RCL). Firstly, the heavens opened at the end of the tour and everyone got soaked, secondly, there was terrible disorganisation at the shuttle bus stop for returning to the ship and, thirdly, a terrible fight broke out on the bus as we arrived back at the port. I have no idea what it was about but it was very shocking - it was between an older man and a younger man and they came to physical blows. A lot of people near them were panicking. It wasn't pleasant.
    View All 12,465 Riga Cruise Port Reviews
    View Cruise Critic's Riga Cruise Port Review
  • City Tour
    This was a brilliant tour, with just 14 people, the guide (Angie) was very good and knowledgeable. She made the tour a lot of fun. She knew all the shortcuts and tips to bypass any crowds and we was everything in relative comfort. The mini bus was always there waiting for us at the end of every stop.
    Couldn't have asked for more. Way cheaper than the ship tours as well ( and, no, you really don't need a visa when taking a recognised city tour whatever the ship information says! It ws a 2 day tour - very intensive with a lot of walking.
    View All 326 City Tour Reviews
  • City Tour
    This was the tour of the city hi lights with airport drop off on the very last day of the cruise. Both the guide and the driver were very good. The guide never stopped talking the entire time, giving us lots of information about Sweden, Swedes and Stockholm. It was very interesting and certainly got us to the airport in good time for our flight home ( which, unfortunately was delayed).
    View All 122 City Tour Reviews
  • Old Town of Tallinn
    It started very early and everything was shut. The tour guide had to give us a 25 minute break almost immediately and everyone had to just hang around. Then we had a brief visit to a church, saw a few more things, then had another 25 minute break, saw a few more things, then the guide left with the people who wanted to go back to the ship. We stayed, had lunch and a walk around, seeing far more than we did with the guide. Could easily have done this more successfully on our own and saved some money. The most interesting thing a bout this tour was the talk on politics etc on the way to town. Again the shuttle back to the port was easy.
    View All 156 Old Town of Tallinn Reviews